The glass and fenestration industries joined together in Las Vegas last week for the largest annual event on the continent—GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo—where attendance and new product introductions reached pre-recession levels. Attendees and exhibitors alike reported markedly improved business conditions, reflected by the highest number of GlassBuild America participants since 2008.
“Many have been extremely cautious since the downturn,” said economist Jeff Dietrich during the Glazing Executives Forum, held in conjunction with GlassBuild America. “Get away from the crash site and start looking forward,” he advised. “The U.S. is the most stable economy in the developed world.”
According to Bill Briese, R&D / engineering manager at GED Integrated Solutions, the industry is heeding Dietrich’s advice. “People are finally making investments—they are breaking out of their shell. Capital equipment was the first to see the downturn and the last to get it back. We are busy again. That’s the telling sign that things are improving,” he said on the show floor.
“Almost all of my glass customers are busy right now; almost too busy to buy machinery because they don’t want to stop production,” added Carey Brayer, VP of sales for exhibitor Intermac America.
“Everything is moving forward, but it’s a controlled growth. That way, you’re able to manage risk and avoid a crash in the economy.”
In terms of the show itself, “this year seemed to continue the trend of companies sending decision-makers to look for new opportunities, so our traffic was consistent and the conversations meaningful,” said Russ Slaybaugh, vice president and general manager for exhibitor Diamon-Fusion International.
GlassBuild America 2015 will return to Atlanta, Sept. 16-18. For additional information on next year’s event, as well as daily coverage highlights from GlassBuild America 2014, visit www.glassbuildamerica.com.